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Naughty v Different: The Speech Delay Kid

“That’s Charlie. M. He’s naughty. He’s not nice.”
I never thought a 4 year old girl who isn’t even my own, could make me feel completely shit at being a mom.
But there I was, watching my bruiser of a lad run around the playground with my stomach in knots and tears almost falling from my eyes, I felt sorry for him. Did the other kids really think that about my child? Or was I just sad because I felt like I had made him that way? That it was my fault.
The girl wasn’t wrong. Charlie is naughty. Sometimes, he’s worse than naughty; uncontrollably bad to the bone some days. But he’s not a bad kid. He’s just different.
You see, I know why he is naughty, I know where his frustrations boil from; his speech. Or rather, lack of.
From the age of around 18 months we’ve known Charlie had a speech delay. He would hardly say a word when spoken to and gestured with grunts and unfamiliar sounds to express what he wanted or how he felt. He even gave my eldest son a new, easier name, Boo.
With this lack of communication came a lack of understanding, from both him and us as his parents. When we couldn’t understand him or we chose the wrong biscuit/book/pyjamers Charlie would completely lose his shit! He’d scream, shout, cry, throw an almighty tantrum and even squeal in anger. And it was the same if he couldn’t understand us. Almost as though he wanted to understand what we were saying but his brain just wouldn’t allow it.
That is why Charlie is still so naughty. Now don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely not making excuses for him. He’s a little shit and I damn well know it. There’s nothing to sugarcoat here, Charlie is the child everyone hopes their kid won’t be. And he’s mine. I’m reminded of it every single day. But do you know what? I wouldn’t change him, there is so much no-one knows about my Charles.
From the outside, to those stuck-up-snob parents who witness my child’s tantrum when he leaves nursery, they automatically presume he’s just a knob-head kid and I’m a shit mom for allowing it. What they don’t see is that he’s upset he wasn’t on gold again. Not because he’s a brat but because he doesn’t understand why he can’t be on gold again.
Of course he understands the word “no” it was actually the first word he ever spoke because we said it to him so much. However, that doesn’t mean he understands the word for every situation. Charlie’s understanding is still that of a 16 month old, that’s younger than our Edward, a baby. That isn’t his fault, or mine.
I do sometimes wish people, like that snot-nosed little girl, could see Charlie for who he really is and not just the naughty side. You see, he’s so loving, kind and affectionate. He hates to see people hurt and if you follow my Instagram you’ll see how much he adores his siblings. He’s a proper family boy, daddy’s best mate and mummy’s best helper. He is the kid that’s always first to kiss a grazed knee or give a hug to anyone feeling sad, emotionally, Charlie is well above his age.
It’s the same academically, he is a bright boy. He knew all the colours, shapes and numbers up to 10 well before he started nursery, now he can count, resight numbers beyond 20, he’s learning the alphabet and even knows songs and ryhmes.
Now because he has a very apparent and sever speech delay, he is of course seeing a speech therapist that now also wants him to see a pediatrition. Normally, this would result in Charlie being able to have one-to-one support in the classroom, as a child with a speech delay often has delays in their academic abilitys, Charlie however, does not. Therefore, he isn’t “poor” enough for such support. Which, is a shame but also shows that the only problem he has is with his speech & language.
A child with a speech delay isn’t naughty because he wants to be, he doesn’t play up and strop because his parents haven’t brought him up right, he’s not angry because he’s a violent child, he’s just a bit different.
It takes balls of steel to deal with such a child, it’s really important for me and Charlie, that I don’t get angry. I try not to shout too much and I’m nearly always readonably calm when dealing with a strop. The only way Charlie will learn to understand is by making sure I don’t give in to such behaviour. You see, when he’s acting up, he wants something, usually his own way or the way he knows or thinks it should be. Because he can’t understand, why. Now if he was a brat he’d get it but he’s not so he won’t. I’m always firm with my decisions calm with my actions and loving with his care.
So yes, some people may think he is a knob and do you know what? I don’t give a single fuck. He may be different, he may not be able to speak, hell, he may even be the naughtiest kid you’ve ever met. But he’s my kid and I’ll deal with him. I don’t need the unwanted opinions of pretend-perfect-mom and I certainly don’t care for the disillusioned uneducated comments of their sporn either. 
Take away his frustration and Charlie is the loveliest child, even if he could speak he would never say a mean word about another child, he’s got too much chill and love for that nonsense. What would be nice though, is a bit of education for others on how not to be a judgmental prick.
Hayley-Jayne Xx
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